MATCHDAY: PSG without Neymar; Juventus in action

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:


Neymar won’t add to his league-high nine goals because the Brazil star is suspended for leader Paris Saint-Germain’s trip to face Ajaccio. Central defender Sergio Ramos is also suspended as PSG looks to maintain its unbeaten start to the season and move six points clear of second-place Lorient. In Neymar’s absence, Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi could be joined in attack by Hugo Ekitike, who has yet to score after mainly being used as a substitute by coach Christophe Galtier. Corsican side Ajaccio is in 19th place with only two wins. But one of those was a confidence-booster against high-flying Marseille.


Paul Pogba and Federico Chiesa have returned to training for embattled Juventus but will not be ready for the Serie A match against Empoli. Chiesa and Pogba are returning from lengthy spells out with injury. Ángel Di María and Gleison Bremer are also out injured. Juventus relieved a bit of the pressure on coach Massimiliano Allegri by beating city rival Torino 1-0 last week and will be looking to make it two in a row before its match at Benfica next week, with the Bianconeri’s Champions League hopes hanging by a thread. Juventus is eighth in Serie A, already 10 points behind leader Napoli. Empoli is five points below Juventus.


Cologne heads to Mainz with both teams looking for a win to lift them up the congested Bundesliga table. Cologne is seventh and Mainz 11th, but three points for either team would lift them into the Champions League places ahead of the weekend games. One concern for Cologne could be a defense which has conceded nine goals in its last three games in all competitions and has not kept a clean sheet since August.


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